Self Editing and Formatting: Writing Patterns

a3e765c541eef3e6ff84bbcea522afe3_meme-meme-writing_500-500

Alright guys we’re back on track! Today’s self editing and formatting post focuses on writing patterns. We all have ways that we naturally express ourselves. In writing, this expression may become repetitive, here’s what to look out for:

  • Don’t be too repetitive of character traits (ie: In a book I’ve decided not to continue reading, the MC has grey eyes which look this way and that–all the time. The description was completely unrelated to the scene and was often distracting during the action-y parts.)
    • Use character description when necessary, but don’t let it become the focus of your writing. Readers have an imagination–let them use it.
  • Vary sentence structure. Have long sentences and short ones. Use descriptions when necessary, but don’t be afraid to leave sentences concise.
  • Use the thesaurus.
    • We’ve all been told to use words that come naturally to us, but when we’re writing an 80,000+ word novel, we’ll need to branch out and find new and creative ways to describe what’s happening.
      • ie: You character doesn’t have to walk down the sidewalk 12 times during the first chapter. What’s her/his mood? Is she grouchy? She could stomp, or drag her feet. Is he excited? He could skip (I wouldn’t), or lob.
  • And for those of us lucky enough to write often and well, don’t tell the same story over and over again. Branch out. Find new characters and new circumstances–your never know, you may discover that you like other genres.
  • Make sure every word is necessary. With today’s fast-paced world, no body wants to read 300 words describing fog as it rolls across the bow of a ship. Say what you need to say, then get moving. Readers crave action these days–not necessarily blowing things up kind-of action–but in other words, don’t stagnate the plot.

And that’s it folks! I hope everyone has a great Easter! Please leave a comment or word of advice. We’re all in this writing thing together!

My Writing Process…er, Progress

 

f1221c6297557c64ba6c4854b5e1886d

So, I’ve been writing for over 6 years now, and gone from an attrocious novice, to what I consider a decent emerging author. I’ve had several short stories published–also lots of micro-fiction, which is so fun! And I’m getting closer and closer to actually finishing a novel that’s good enough to pester agents about.

The progress I’ve noticed in my writing is something that’s emerged organically, and I think it’s just due to practice. I feel like I’m thinking more like a writer, than a person just trying to write.

And I have to say, I’m stoked about that. What I’m talking about are the complexities of storytelling, specifically, character development and interaction.

In the past, I haven’t introduced a lot of new characters throughout a long piece of writing. Or the ones that have been introduced are just not that important in the grand scheme of the plot, or aren’t spontaneous. But in working on Refining Sylver–my lovely werewolf novel–I’ve realized the fun of introducing new characters–ones that were completely out of the blue–and intertwining their story with the MC’s.

In the 1000+ words I wrote last week, I introduced 2 new characters that I decided would not only be related, but estranged, and would be brought back together somehow during the story. It’s added a layer of intrigue–for myself–that I wasn’t expecting and I’m looking forward to fleshing it out in ink.

gifs_of_smashing_breaking_crashing_through_things_06
lzismile.com

I’m sure we’ve all experienced certain breakthroughs as we stride toward our writing goals. Have you broken any ceilings lately–or walls? Done better or more creatively than you thought you could?

Please leave a comment or word of advice! We’re all in this writing thing together!

Writer Meme Monday

writingmeme

This is the kind of motivation I need right now. Life is so hectic! Between planning fun Easter activities, persuing my own baptism, and buying a new house, there isn’t really a lot of time for writing.

But I’m happy to say that in a week, hopefully all of these time-suckers will be wrapped up in nice little pastel-colored bows.

We submitted a contract on another house on Sunday, so hopefully the negotiations go well and we can move forward–and not have to drag my 2 little minions into other people’s homes, anymore.

Also, next Sunday is Easter! I get baptised on Saturday, and obviously we’re having all kinds of fun on Easter Sunday.

So, to wrap up, in 7 days, I hope to be a much freer woman!

Have a great week folks!

#WriterMemeMonday

So technically this is a gif, but after last week’s post on moving on, and after exchanging comments with so many helpful writers and friends, I’ve decided to pick up my werewolf fantasy novel!

BGBiqv

And I’m dancing because I’m filled with zeal and motivation to extend this project to a full length novel. In just a week I’ve already read through Part One–written for Channillo a while back–now I’m off on Part Two.

Wish me luck!

When Do You Just Move On…

When do you just move on from a project?

index

I’ve been writing for over 6 years now, not very long in the grand scheme of the world, but pretty long considering I’m only 32. I love writing, and I would like to make a good stab at traditional publishing. In order to do that, I’ve got to actually finish writing a novel–or, finish a good one.

I’ve heard that your first novel will suck, and that most likely, your second novel will also suck. Well, I’m kind of in limbo here. My first novel, a scifi romance, sucked. I’ve rewritten it twenty times, it still sucks. I’ve moved on–for now.

My second novel, an urban fantasy, doesn’t suck as much as the scifi. In fact, I think it’s got great potential, but I’ve been working on it for a few years now–on and off–and I’m starting to wonder if I should just chalk it up as a learning experience and move on.

I have a third novel in the works, another fantasy. It’s got great potential, and as far as structure and characters, is the best thing I’ve done so far. I’m writing it in thirds. I started it as a short story for a serial fiction site, but quickly recognized it could be a full length novel. I’ve done some plotting for the middle-third, but I haven’t actually started writing it yet.

Refining Sylver Official Cover

My dilemma is, should I just give up on my urban fantasy? Shove it back into that drawer and never look at it again? I feel like if I jump into my new fanasy, I won’t go back, and I’m just concerned that I’m leaving something worth persuing on the table…

Maybe there’s no right answer to this conundrum. But I’m hoping my fellow writers out there will have had similar dilemmas and be able to pass along their experiences and advice.

I’d like to be a professional writer, and I worry that I’m being too emotional. My pro-oriented mind says move on, my heart says stay.

Any advice friends? Please leave a comment. We’re all in this writing thing together.

Scene Checking

I’m finally back in the blogging saddle, so this week’s post on self editing focuses on scene checking. (These are my notes taken during the Agile Writer’s Conference back in January.)

  • Look at the big picture:
    • Is the scene necessary? Does it move the plot forward?
    • Does it flow?
      • Make sure things flow smoothly from scene to scene; don’t give readers whiplash.
  • Point of View:
    • Be consistent. Don’t change POV in the middle of a sentence/paragraph/chapter. POV changes should be separated by scene breaks or chapter breaks.
  • Whenever possible, don’t open with scenary. There is probably some other aspect of the story that is more individual to your MC that will not only entice readers, but make for a more original/organic opening.
  • Use prologues sparingly. Most of the time, prologue info can be dissiminated throughout the body of the text.

And that’s it folks! I have to say that scene checking is such a hard thing to do sometimes. To spend hours writing something that’s brilliant, only to realize later that it’s unnecessary, is so frustrating.

But alas, it’s part of the process. So what’s your biggest obstacle with scene checking? Please leave a comment or word of advice. We’re all in this writing thing together!